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Soho Malaga: “The Neighborhood of the Arts”

Malaga European City of Innovation - izzan.grupoqz.net/~euromediaMalaga is a city with a clear focus on the promotion of the cultural and creative industries. And, not only the city, but also its citizens who are finding new ways of expressing their interest and making creativity their way of life.

It was early in 2010 when the idea of ​​creating a cultural district started to arise. Its purpose was to boost economic revitalization of the neighborhood by means of a local initiative set up by neighbors and local businesses called “the Neighborhood of the Arts”.

Promalaga, the local development agency dependent on the municipality of Malaga, led and co-financed this urban redevelopment project. Among other actions, they transformed a busy area full of cars and pollution in a beautiful pedestrian and cultural neighborhood. Over time this area was the area falling in both urban and social degradation. The district between southern Alameda and Muelle de Heredia is now known as “Soho Malaga”. With a twenty acres surface, this is now an area of ​​great potential, close to strategic points of the city and the port, the Main Street and the Alameda Park. The Contemporary Art Centre of Malaga (CAC Málaga) or the Alameda Theatre, the only private theatre with regular programming in Andalusia, are also located in this new and charming area, together with a variety of art galleries.

On September 11th 2010 the “Soho Málaga” was launched in the forecourt of the CAC. A pedestrian square built in front of this art centre reinforced the project original idea of being open to all citizens. The idea was to carry out a series of actions in which citizens perceived the influence of this neighborhood in the lifestyle of Málaga city. The representative of the Association Soho Malaga said: “It’s the magic that has conjured up a neighborhood that no one seemed to notice before”

From early morning the ArteNativo Market was installed in collaboration with local artists and artisans. Clothing, arts and crafts, comics, organic food, green products, and a variety of handmade jewellery were just some of the products offered. The strategic location of the market was no accident. It was made to coincide with the exhibition of the artist Dexter Dalwood, which secured a good number of people attending the exhibition. Of course, music was also part of this unprecedented cultural event. True artist legends in Málaga, the flamenco dancer Spool, Tabletom rock band and the Soho Jazz Band performed throughout the weekend. During this two day event, every element aligned with the idea of ​​spreading the ​​active transformation of the neighborhood and the perception of citizenship change.

It was within this framework that the Association “Soho Malaga” was born. It later changed its name to MAUS (Málaga Arte Urbano en el Soho- Malaga Urban Art in the Soho). MAUS was without no doubt, one of the most important cultural interventions in the city which left a permanent impact not only in the heart of the people but also in the appearance of the buildings of the neighborhood. MAUS allowed the birth of urban art in some of the most visible and dilapidated buildings. Thus, it invited renowned national and international artists such as Faith 47, ROA, East Sal D’or Face Obey, among others, to illustrate their works on the building facades creating a real art gallery outdoors. From performing arts and 1theater, photography, music (Soho Malaga Sound Festival), markets, shows and workshops.

Nowadays, “Soho Málaga” is a joint venture of a heterogeneous group of academics, musicians, filmmakers, chefs, marketers, communicators, etc. The Soho Malaga Sound Festival is also a reality and a number of cultural activities are programmed during the year (workshops, exhibitions, theatre shows, etc…) Undoubtedly, the most surprising of the “Soho Malaga” was that it got the unanimous support of all three political groups represented in the city of Málaga which are also represented in the association.

@Paulino_Cuevas